Zeller van Almsick, Vienna (AT)

07.04.2022 – 07.05.2022

Zeller van Almsick

In his sculptures and video works, Kay Walkowiak delves into the correlation between time and space in existential reflection, contrasting Western and Eastern perceptions.  In antique Western philosophy, a man is a measure of all things (Protagoras), opposite to the non-anthropocentric Eastern philosophy view favoring man's interconnection with the environment as part of a whole. Likewise, in many non-Western traditions, the perception of time is essentially cyclical; the beginning coincides with the end in contrast to the Western linear perception of time when each moment is qualitatively different from the one before. Touching on this topic, Kay emphasizes the Buddhist notion of the present moment urging us to ‘be here now.’  

The eponymous sculptures series (Be Here Now, 2022) addresses the viewer with the same message. The signs of digital navigation systems are made of different marble types. The stone can be seen as a material, in which historical periods are merged and frozen, opposing the form of the sculpture —a location mark—which points out the navigation and digitalization. Although the sculptures bear a familiar iconography, they don’t refer to a specific location anymore.They are removed from a cartographic context, referring less to a geographical location and more to moments in the here and now.  

The video Drifters, 2018 is the documentation of a precisely constructed situation that combines natural settings with a minimalist intervention. The immersive video work shows a white geometric shape on a leaf moving in the wind. The white element appears incongruous as a formal antithesis in this seemingly untouched landscape while merging through the meditative-looking movement. This simultaneous and repetitive movement emphasizes Eastern philosophy's indivisibility between culture and nature. While the rectangle represents the simplest geometrical form, it also translates the concept of insubstantial emptiness.  

A famous passage of the Buddhist Heart Sutra unequivocally states: "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Emptiness is not separate from form; form is not separate from emptiness. Whatever is form is emptiness; whatever is emptiness is form.” Thus, in the potentiality of emptiness lies the origin of all phenomena, as well as their disappearance.

Text: Kay Walkowiak, Olesia Shuvarikova, Vienna 2022 
Photos: (c) Simon Veres